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Description official descriptions

In this game you play the role of a barbarian who must navigate his way through dangerous dungeons. The game is played from a third person side scrolling perspective and also has platform jumping parts to it. The barbarian is controlled by using left and right on the joystick to move and up and down is used to scroll through the various commands at the bottom of the screen. When a command is highlighted pressing fire will perform that action thus saving on extra buttons being needed to play. There are two weapons at your disposal. A sword which you start the game with and later a bow which is handy for long range attacks. There are many traps to avoid and various monsters who have different attack patterns.

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Credits (Amiga version)

9 People

Program design by
Coding by
Animation by
Graphics by
Title/End sequence coding by
Title/End sequence design by
Title/End sequence graphics by
Story written by
General disruption
Cover Illustration by



Average score: 74% (based on 16 ratings)


Average score: 2.8 out of 5 (based on 74 ratings with 6 reviews)

Genuinely fantastic.. if you play it while on acid.

The Good
I remember that the sampled sound effects sounded really impressive when I first heard them (I had just upgraded my XT to 512 kb ram).

The Bad
A control system designed by a sick mind - this has to be the only sidescrolling action game using nothing but the function keys (!) to control the main character.

The Bottom Line
A Conan-esque character walks around slaying his enemies in the traditional sidescrolling beat-em-up style. You know the drill - except for the control system, which is alien.

DOS · by mobster_lobster (24) · 2001

It really sucks.

The Good
The only truly cool thing about this game is the nice "barbarian!" digital sample at the beginning, which baffled me at the time.

The Bad
Everything, starting with the horrible, horrible control system, the completely ridicilous sound effects and on top of it all, the graphics suck. This game simply is NO FUN AT ALL!

The Bottom Line
Stay away from it!

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 1999

I am astonished and amazed at this game's poor treatment

The Good
Duh. You press keys, a bloke on the screen walks and suddenly - without no warning at all! - a rock falls on his head and he dies. Aliens, schmaliens - THIS is the ultimate in nerve-tingling suspense! All those pussies talking about these new 3-d games like The Thing and so on just have no idea what REAL suspense means - I can't believe somebody'd call a game suspensful when he knows EXACTLY what will happen when he presses this or that button. That's the whole IDEA of suspense - that you DON'T know what will happen next, that when a monster jumps out of nowhere you can't just press a mouse button and kill him! It's not like that in real life! And look - with all the technological advancements those games just can't reach that level on which this game is operating. All this game needs is a barbarian and a monster at the other end of the screen who doesn't even MOVE. You press F4 and the barbarian walks towards the monster, who then begins slowly - SLOWLY, like the advance of creeping death - to walk towards the barbarian. The barbarian has a sword with which he could with ease kill the monster - but does he? No, that'd be just primitive. That'd be something straight out of the Thing or that Aliens movie. No, no, no - in THIS game, the barbarian with his sword walks on and you press some key and instead of hitting the monster with his sword the barbarian suddenly stops and jumps in the air and the monster kills him dead! Pure genius.

The Bad
I thought it was a shame that when you die in one screen the game doesn't start anew but lets you resurrect somehow in that same screen. That's just not very realistic.

The Bottom Line
It was one of the first games I played. It taught me the use of function keys. It taught me that incredible frustration and ceaseless irritation is an irremovable part of computer gaming. I never got past the first four screens, but I still remember it with great kindness. I can't say that about any other game I've played.

DOS · by Alex Man (31) · 2002

[ View all 6 player reviews ]


Cover art

The box cover artwork and Barbarian/Psygnosis logos were created by Roger Dean. The painting used for the cover, called Red Dragon III, was later used again as a cover for Steve Howe on the 1994 album Not Necessarily Acoustic. At the back of the CD booklet under the artwork credits you can find the message "Hello Psygnosis".


In the PC version, the developers apparently forgot to remove a debugger of sorts from the game. When you are asked to select the control method ("Press 1, 2 or 3"), press 4. Then start the game as usual, and...


Barbarian features speech through the PC Speaker, but was done using the technically inferior 1-bit method as opposed to the more sophisticated 6- and 8-bit methods employed by other games. As a result, the speech is quite loud and distorted.

Information also contributed by Blood, Jaromir Krol, Servo

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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Donny K..

iPhone, iPad added by Sciere. ZX Spectrum added by Martin Smith. MSX added by koffiepad. Amiga added by MAT. Atari ST added by Belboz. Amstrad CPC added by Belgarath_UK. Commodore 64 added by Rantanplan.

Additional contributors: festershinetop, Patrick Bregger.

Game added August 27th, 1999. Last modified August 17th, 2023.